Drow Species in Melyria | World Anvil


Elf subrace

Disclaimer: Because of the cruel nature of some drow cultures, some of the details described here can disturb squeamish audiences. Discretion is advised.

The drow, also known as dark elves, are a dark-skinned subrace of elves⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣. Drows of Melyria live mainly in Underdark⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ as the dominant species.

For many, drows are the subject of many horror stories and strike the fear of the hearts of those who were unlucky enough to meet them. Known as most brutal and xenophobic of the all elves⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, their raiding parties search the surface for slaves, pillaging and killing things in the heart of the night swiftly and effectively. As race connected to Lloth⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, goddess of murder and deceit, no one would wait for any less of them.

Basic Information

Biological Traits

Drows are slightly shorter than most of the other elves, yet not by a significant margin. Female drows are significantly taller than males. Drows have often dark skin, most prominently either black or dark grey, but it can also have a purple or blue tint. Lightest drows have ash-grey, pale blue-grey, or lavender skin. The mucosa of drow tends to be purple, making their lips and tongues purplish.

Red is the most dominant eye color, followed by yellow and orange. Drows can also have pale, almost white eyes, that can have a tint of any other color. Most rare naturally occurring eye colors are blues and purples, which often come from mixing blood with surface elves generations back.

Typical to other elves⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, drow are slender and beautiful, and far more petite than humans. Drows use their looks far more aggressively than other elves, and often but the extra effort on their looks.

Genetics and Reproduction

One of the most peculiar aspects of the drow is the blessing of the Lloth⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ the Spiderqueen and her influence over the appearance of the offspring of the drow. Drow families are usually easy to recognize, as the children of two drows will always look more like their mother. The exact mix of two parents vary, but females have much more dominant genes than the males do.

Additionally, if drow would breed with another elf or for example, a human, a child would always look more like a drow parent. This effect will most-likely also be seen in their children, and it takes a few generations to out-breed this effect from the family line.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Society of the drow tends to be Llothian⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ and matronal. Typically, drow men are considered as a property of the women of their family. Family units, commonly refered as houses, are led by matron⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ who occassionally has a patron⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ on their side as a consort.

As most drow cultures live in Underdark⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, their cultures tend to match this harsh enviroment. As such, drows are brutal and competitive and somewhat anarcistic. They learn ti play mind games, trying to take advantage of any situation no matter the cost. This makes drow societies full of fear, imbalance and paranoia.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

As the dwellers of the Underdark⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, drow have exceptional darkvision superior to any other elves. While unable to see color in the dark as the rest of their brethren, they see much further away and are far more used to moving in the depths of the earth.

This superior darkvision comes at the cost, however. Drows are sensitive to sunlight and often use light fabrics and similar to cover their eyes on the surface, to protect their eyesight. Many of the drow experience significant headaches after being on the surface for a long time, and direct sunlight can give migraines for the inexperienced. While younger drow can adapt to light making it more bearable by time and turn to small nuisance, ones that are exposed to sunlight for the first time in old age have a much harder time to get rid of the effects.

Some of the drow develop a sensitivity to detect magic with minimal effort. Such skill is very priced among the drow, as they are very keen on the powers of arcane.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Names of the drow often bear a meaning, similarly to other elven names, but the origins of the names are usually easier to trace. Names often have ominous connotations and are hoped to bestow some of their power to the individual. These names are often sharp with several consonants.

Female and male names are mostly strictly separated, and female name on male is seen as arrogant and uplifting for the male, where male name on female is seen as demeaning.

For some examples of drow names, see the Drow name generator⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣.

Major Organizations

Llothian⁣ societies dominate the drow kind, forming theocratic regions part of Church of Lloth. In northern Umeros⁣ the lands of Szith Draethoz⁣ fill fear to the hearts of IslenorianHigh Elves⁣, but also Thandar⁣ and South Velkas⁣ are known to have drow populations following Lloth⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣.

They are not, however, the only type of drow. Most famous of the more unusual drow offshoots are The Children⁣ from the Silver Shore Island⁣ are followers of goddess Eilistraee⁣ and Faith of The Dancer⁣.

Rumors tell also about another group of drow, somewhere far beyond the Northern Waters, living in land of perpetual snow.

Beauty Ideals

Most drow cultures are supportive of vanity and consider beauty as a virtue. Because of the elven beauty and unique drow genetics, drows have long been obsessing about eugenics and selective breeding. Often you can tell simply from one's bone structure their standing on society and critical things of their lineage if you only know what features to look for.

For drows talking about pedigree is as mundane as speaking of the weather is for those on the surface. Genetics are heavily considered by the higher classes when choosing a suitable mate to produce the most capable and beautiful children with high value. Perfect skin, well trained, lean body, and well-maintained hair are things to be proud of and flaunt over.

Drows enjoy the sharper facial structure and clear, dramatic, angular silhouettes. Soft, rounded edges on garments or physique are often seen as bland and unimpressive.

Gender Ideals

From all the elves⁣⁣, drows are most obsessive on the maters of gender. Rigid gender hierarchy is very typical for pretty much all drow cultures.

Female drow is expected to be strong, cunning, independent, and without any vulnerabilities what so ever. They also are, from all the elven⁣⁣⁣ women the ones most likely to have plenty of children, as they see fertility and ability to survive the rough elven pregnancy as a sign of strength.

Males are expected to be subservient to the women they belong to and work for their family's interests. Contesting women of their own family or extended house is considered as a big no-no. Thay has a hard time at the same time bring value to the family while not outshining the female family members.

Courtship Ideals

An important thing to note about drow and courtship is that there is that drows do not have a similar understanding of marriage as humans do. Elven ideas of marriage are strange to most humans anyway. Still, the drow marriage is even a bit weirder, possibly because it has features of a marriage of some human cultures but in a slightly more brutal manner.

Drow females prefer mates with looks, compatible genetics, and who are not too closely related, though they aren't always pickiest about the relative part. While drows actively avoid parent-child relations, they don't pat an eye on relationships between cousins, and while more frowned upon, sibling pairs are not unheard of. They are more concerned about the quality of the offspring or amusement that comes from sexual contact. Women have the ultimate power in the matters, and especially lower-class men have very little say whom they mate with if they are allowed to mate at all.

By default, drows do not marry. Among commoners, males are often "loaned" from other families to produce offspring. There are occasions where commoner drows have formed actual pairs and moved under the same roof, but this is very rare. With higher ranked and noble families, sometimes marriage is made as a form of trade agreement was the man becomes part of the wife's family and wife's property. Some drow women collect harems filled with several husbands.

How much there is an actual relationship or even consent in these contacts varies a lot according to the drow culture, standing of the drow and the whims of the female in the relationship.

Relationship Ideals

While nature and appreciation of relationships vary among the drow cultures, it is good to note the few similarities among them. Drows learned distrust from Lloth and her paranoia and dangers of Underdark have made drows to see relations in very practical and often in cynical perspective. While minor groups like The Children have learned to value of relationships, Lloth has left her mark and made her people distrusting. As such, even kindest of drows that have grown up among other drows tend to be suspicious, consider the benefits of every relationship in a calculative manner, and they value independence.

Drows tend to value practicality over loyalty. While for llothians this can often be connected to hunger for power, safety, and control, this type of calculative thinking is very much present also with other groups, if only in a softer form. If leaving a friend behind seems like an only sensible option, drow will sell their friend, and it doesn't have to be personal. For llothians, ideally, the drow wouldn't need anyone and would never get attached to other people; in practice though, even if their relationships can be shaky and unhealthy, they do form friendships and other relationships.

It is also good to know that family is often valued highly, and that means only the mother's family. Fathers have no rights to their children what so ever if the woman doesn't deem it so. Children always belong to the woman. Drow males rarely raise their children and are often much closer to their sister's children.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

The drow speak their own distinct dialect of Elvish, that is formed to the language known as Undercommon. It is used in combination of Drow Sign language. Many drow academics, magic users and clerics have also written several texts in Abyssal.

Common Dress Code

Drows often dress in dark colors, mostly out of necessity; in deep Underdark⁣, certain dyes are hard to get, and too bright colors can make you come to the prey of predators. Garments are often revealing as culture doesn't shy away from sexuality. And let's face it, Underdark isn't cold.

Spikes, hooks, piercings, revealing cuts and fabrics are typical in clothes and accessories, and nudity isn't shied away from. Sense of danger is part of drow fashion, and one should expect at least some of their accessories function as weapons.

Drows are not into subtlety when it comes to high fashion. Elaborate hairpieces, dramatic collars, and professional, extravagant details are preferred. Spider Silk⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ is commonly used fine fabric in these fashionable masterpieces. In more common wear though, mobility and ability to blend to the environment in Underdark are exceptionally important. Skintight, easily blendable clothing with ominous detailing and careful craftmanship is seen as more appropriate.


The exact timing of when the elves⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ of the Prime Material plane⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ started to diverge to several seperate subspecies has been lost. But it is estimated that the diverge happened between 20,000 TbS⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ to 12,000 TbS⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣. This happened still in the glory years of dragons and giants, and about the same time as Dwarfs⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ came to the Prime Material plane⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣. On this time, war erupted between the elves which started this great divide.

Legend tells how goddess Araushnee, wife of god Corellon Larethian⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, betrayed The Seldarine⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ and became Lloth⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣, the Spider Queen. The battle tore the elves in half and those who followed the vain and cruel Lloth became the drow.

The drow would follow their goddess to the Underdark⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ and adpt to live in the depths of the earth. To this day, most of the drow worship Lloth if not out of respect then out of fear.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Especially llothian drows are known as highly xenophobic, and cruel towards outsiders. Llothian drows prefer using slaves to do all the hard work, and most of the slaves come from other races.

While The Children have relatively good relations to their neighbors, this is more of an exception than a rule. Drows are usually hostile towards outsiders and have very little diplomatic relations with other races.

Race type
Parent race

Genetic Ancestor(s)
400-700 years
Average Height
Males: 147 cm to 175 cm
Females: 157 cm to 186 cm
Average Weight
Males: 44 kg to 60 kg
Females: 50 kg to 68 kg
Average Physique
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Skin: Shades of grey, blue, purple and black
Hair: Shades of white, other colors unusual. May darken by age.
Related Materials

Quick generate character

Need an NPC or a character idea? Here is a quick and dirty way to make characters and roll for ideas in seconds.

For drow names, use the Drow name generator⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣.

Quick generate - Alignment

Roll the Dice
1Lawful Good
2Lawful Neutral
3Lawful Evil
4Neutral Good
6Neutral Evil
7Chaotic Good
8Chaotic Neutral
9Chaotic Evil

Quick generate - Gender

Roll the Dice

Age and birthday

Age - Elves

Roll the Dice
100-200Young adult
401-560Middle aged

Day / Moonphase

Roll the Dice
1-2New Moon
3-6Waxing crescent
7-10First Quarter
11-14Waxing gibbous
15-17Full Moon
18-21Waning gibbous
22-25Last Quarter
26-29Waning crescent
30New Moon


Roll the Dice


Below you find tables to help determine your character's basic physique.


Here you can find the height chart(s) for the species. Notice that "very short" and "very tall" are beyond average height scope. Feel free to push size beyond these measurements, if required. Heights are loosely based on the official DnD lore, rulebooks and other material, but might have been altered drastically.


Below you find the weight modifiers for the species to calculate the estimated weight. The numbers are based on DnD lore, rulebooks and other material, and edited for added variation and changed to something that resembles a BMI (wouldn't recommend using them as a health guide though). On the side, you have a calculator to figure out the weight.

Drow - Height Table, Male (cm)

Roll the Dice
139-146Very short
176-183Very tall

Drow - Height Table, Female (cm)

Roll the Dice
149-156Very short
187-194Very tall

Weight Modifier - Group E

Roll the Dice
14.9(or lower) Frail
25(or above) Heavy

Extra Descriptor

Roll the Dice
1Healthy / Pretty / Inviting
2Sickly / Weak / Meek
3Fit / Active / Strong
4Regal / Vigorous / Controlled
5Hunched / Tense / Fidgety

Drow - Eye color (Example shades)

Roll the Dice
1-25Dark red (Auburn, Blood, Burgundy, Carmine, Maroon)
26-50Red (Rose, Carnelian, Scarlet, Crimson, Ruby)
51-75Orange (Tangerine, Carrot, Pumpkin, Vermilion, Jasper)
76-85Yellow (Saffron, Amber, Canary, Gold, Goldenrod)
86-90White (Milky, Bone, Snow, Pearl, Ivory)
91-95Blue (Ice, Ultramarine, Navy, Sapphire, Teal)
96-100Purple (Royal, Amethyst, Orchid, Mulberry, Eminence)

Drow - Skintones (example shades)

Roll the Dice
1-5Light Blue (Blue-gray, Powder Blue, Cumulus, Cloudy Sky, Chill)
6-15Light Grey (Fog, Silver, Platinum, Ash, Cloud)
16-20Light Purple (Periwinkle, Lavender, Thistle, Heather, Iris)
21-25Middle Blue (Dim Cobalt, Venetian, Pidgeon, Prussian, Electric)
26-34Middle Grey (Steel, Nickel, Stone, Flint, Pewter)
35-40Middle Purple (Indigo, Lobelia, Royal, Slate, Blue-purple)
41-47Dark Blue (Midnight, Navy, Sapphire, Denim, Royal)
48-64Dark Grey (Ebony, Charcoal, Lead, Iron, Shadow)
65-74Dark Purple (Graphite, Dark Slate, Amethyst, Mauve, Eggplant)
75-100Black (Onyx, Obsidian, Jet, Raisin, Licorice)

Drow - Hair color (Example shades)

Roll the Dice
1Pure White (Snow, Smoke, Milky)
2Cold White (Pale Aliceblue, Ghostwhite, Frost)
3Warm White (Cream, Ivory, Pearl)
4Silvery White (Wisp, Moon, Silver)
5Pale Blond (Linen, Platinum, lace)

Optional oddities

These are a couple of things to spice up your character if you need something less mundane.

Quirks | Elves and Gnomes

Roll the Dice
2Hair stripes or other patterns (roll for color)
3Animalistic eyes
4Particularly odd hair color (roll for color)
6Tattoo(s) (roll for placement)
7Eye-catching ear piercings
8Facial piercings (Nose rings etc.)
9Gravity defying hairstyle
11Permanent injury or deformity (roll for placement)
12Unusual eye color (roll for color

Quirk color (if needed)

Roll the Dice

Quirk placement (if needed)

Roll the Dice
1Face, front
2Face, side
3Back of the head
7Back, upper
8Back, lower

Articles under Drow


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